Each spring, the Virginia Cooperative Council sponsors an Institute on Cooperative Education, a youth leadership conference for up to 64 Virginia high school students.
Local students from A&N Electric Cooperative’s service area are eligible to attend. The cooperative holds an annual essay contest to determine the cooperative’s participants in two educational opportunities, which includes the VICE Conference.
The objective of the conference is to educate youth about the unique cooperative form of business.
Through an interactive, educational, and entertaining conference, students enhance their teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.
The conference features a computer-based business simulation developed by Perdue University called “Who’s Minding the Store.”
Students are divided into teams and teams compete against one another over five rounds of the simulation.
Each team represents a separate co-op business, each attempting to make pricing, inventory, advertising, credit, and personnel decisions to increase their co-op’s net worth in a competitive market setting. Students are first presented with basic business concepts and are then allowed to make their first set of management decisions.
When the results of their decisions are returned, students learn how to interpret the effects and how to adjust their decision-making to yield more desirable outcome. In addition, they learn how to read balance sheets and income statements, and how to use values from the statements to calculate ratios that indicate the financial wellbeing of the business.
The cooperative’s essay contest is open to all high school and home school juniors living in the cooperative’s service area.
This year the cooperative will select the top two essays submitted to join students who qualified last year to attend the conference, but were unable to due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The VICE conference takes place in spring of 2021. The essay topic for the VICE Conference contest is “What are the Benefits of the Cooperative Model of Business to the Eastern Shore?”
Due to COVID-19, essays can be submitted directly to the cooperative by filling out the VICE Conference Application and Essay Form.
The conference is at no cost to students who are selected through the essay contest.
VICE Conference Links